12 Splurge-Worthy Getaways. In the mood for some perfect pampering in a breathtaking setting?
Santa Barbara has plenty of ways to make sure you’re happily spoiled. Lodgings here specialize in laid-back luxury, with settings ranging from hilltop areas, to secret bungalows, to edge-of-the-sea dazzlers. Consider Belmond El Encanto, with terraced gardens and sweeping views of the Pacific. Perched in the hills above town, it feels like a private enclave that doesn’t draw attention or flash—just pure relaxation and sigh-worthy settings. Pull on a fluffy robe from the closet of your classic bungalow to dip into the pool, or get a treatment at the onsite spa. Natural beauty meets classic luxury and romance at San Ysidro Ranch, nestled in the Montecito foothills. At the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, expect ultimate five-star service a seashell toss from the ocean. 12 Must-See Zoos and Aquariums. Like a journey to Africa, a day at this spectacular park lets you see some of the world’s most magnificent—and endangered—animals at close range and in expansive naturalized enclosures.
A tram ride leads you past roaming groups of rhinos, gazelles, giraffes, and other species ranging freely through savannah-like expanses. African lions wrestle with their cubs in specially designed enclosures that look like part of the whole, but are safely contained from other animals. There’s plenty to see on foot too: the amazing Tiger Trail exhibit lets you get remarkable underwater views of Sumatran tigers swimming in the Tiger Trail exhibit.
"Static-line hot-air balloon rides and a long, long zip line ride offer great views of the park and surrounding region. " For even more up-close looks at the park’s animals, including premium behind-the-scenes tours, plus unique experiences such as the Cheetah Safari, where you can watch as these amazing cats reach speeds up to 70 mph/113 kph. Discoveries on the way to Yosemite. Must-See State Parks. Visiting this 14,000-acre/5,666-hectare park is like walking through a portal into a world where everything is giant and green—a rainforest where ferns arc over mossy trails in a dappled world of light and shadow.
Start with a hike among the ancient redwoods on the 3.2-mile/5.1-km Prairie Creek and Cathedral Tree loop, which begins at Prairie Creek Redwoods’ visitor center. From your first steps, “lush” is the operative word. 9 Family-Friendly Wineries & Craft Breweries. 9 Great National Parks. Jutting dramatically out into the blue Pacific, the over 70,000-acre/28,732-hectare Point Reyes National Seashore almost seems to break away from the Northern California coast.
The coastal preserve, some 30 miles/48 kilometers north of San Francisco, protects more than 1,500 animal and plant species and 80 miles/130 kilometers of shoreline. 9 Great National Parks. 8 Top Places for Whale Watching. Each year, November through April, California gray whales make their annual migration from feeding grounds in Alaska south to mate and have babies in the warm coastal lagoons of Baja, Mexico.
Along the way, the whales do a swim-by off the Mendocino Coast, offering an unforgettable chance to see the leviathans spouting, breaching, and diving as they make their epic journey south. "Book a spot on a whale-watching charter, or, if you’re feeling adventurous and waters are calm, rent kayaks. " High vantage points along the coast are good spots to spot whales, particularly on calm mornings. Amazing Agritourism Experiences. Country roads, shady orchards, gnarled wine vines—these trails provide gorgeous agricultural scenery as well as places to stop and taste the bounty.
Hide description Show description Sign Up for Free Create your free Glamping Hub account now. By clicking Sign Up, you agree to the Terms and Conditions and the Cancellation Policies Guest Sign Up Log In or Guest Log In Host Log In Forgot your password/email? Save a list of your favorite glamping sites Message Glamping Hosts Manage your upcoming bookings. Visit California. Special VIP Tours. Volcanoes to the Sea. After so much wildness for so much of your trip, Eureka is an inviting and lively switch.
This once rough-and-tumble seaport town, the largest coastal city between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, has split-personality charm: a sense of history in the handsomely restored, Victorian-era Old Town district, a still-working seaport where crusty fishing boats chug in and out of a protected harbor, logging trucks rumbling through town, and an eco-conscious college vibe thanks to Humboldt State, in the nearby town of Arcata.
Hundreds of ornate 19th-century homes, like the Carson Mansion, a paragon of Queen Anne architecture now housing a private club at the end of Second Street, reflect the prosperity of Eureka’s formative years, when lumber was king. The entire city is a state historic landmark, a captivating mix of nature and culture with a small-town feel. Hidden Attractions and Unusual Things to Do in California. Hidden Attractions and Unusual Things to Do in California. 8 Amazing Hidden Travel Gems in California. California is by far one of the best states to visit for a holiday or a road trip.
Many visitors to the state typically flock to the larger cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, but California also has an abundance of beautiful towns and pristine nature. Its expansive coastline, endlessly tall patches of redwoods, marshes, mountains and beaches all contribute to some of the most diverse landscapes in the country; while the multitude of wineries sitting on undulating miles of vineyards are sure to satiate any wine lover. Seafood is fresh caught, the vibe is low-key, the vino is sublime and the perfect weather is, well, perfect. So the next time you’re rolling down the West Coast and feeling car-bound jitters, take a breather and discover some of California’s top hidden travel gems as picked by us here at Hopper. 8. Photo by bcampbell65/Shutterstock. Fort Bragg is also on Hopper’s list of 18 amazing hidden travel gems in the United States 7.
Photo by Stelian Popa/Shutterstock.
The Most Beautiful Places in California - Road Trip Ideas. Flickr/Ed Hunsinger 9.
Fern Canyon Gold Bluffs Beach Steven Spielberg chose this as the location for The Lost World: Jurassic Park because 1) holy crap look at it, 2) it's an international Biosphere Reserve (what does that even mean???) Hidden Attractions and Unusual Things to Do in California.